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"Dead Things" is the thirteenth episode of the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 113th episode in the series. Written by Steven S. DeKnight and directed by James A. Contner, it originally broadcast on February 5, 2002 on the UPN network.


Buffy investigates why Spike is suddenly able to attack her, despite the chip in his head. Meanwhile, Jonathan, Warren and Andrew try to frame Buffy for murder.[1]


Lying naked on the floor of Spike's crypt, Buffy and Spike carry on a conversation about decorating. Spike then asks Buffy if she even likes him, to which she replies "Sometimes." Pulling out a pair of handcuffs, he asks Buffy if she trusts him. She replies: "Never."

Meanwhile, the Trio, now hiding in a rented house after being forced to flee their lair, have put the finishing touches on a new gadget, the cerebral dampener, which will turn any woman of their choice into their pseudo-willing sex slave.

At Doublemeat Palace, Buffy takes a break at her job to talk in private with Tara. While rubbing at her wrists, Buffy reveals that Spike is now able to hurt her, but not other humans. She says that she suspects that the resurrection spell brought her to life "wrong," but doesn't want to take a magic-related problem to Willow, so she asks Tara to do some research to see if she can find out just what is "wrong" with her.

Warren browses for women at a bar, while Andrew and Jonathan watch through a camera in Warren's tie, pointing out various women they would like to have as slaves. Irritated by the suggestions, Warren removes his earpiece and approaches his ex-girlfriend, Katrina. She wants nothing to do with Warren, but he uses the Cerebral Dampener and she addresses him as "master."

Buffy returns home after her day at work to find her friends preparing for Xander and Anya's wedding by teaching Dawn to waltz. Buffy becomes upset when she learns that Dawn is spending the night at her friend Janice's house, but she decides it is better for her to go to the Bronze with her friends than to stay at home and brood.

At their lair, the Trio enjoy champagne served by Katrina, who has been dressed in a maid's outfit, and admire Warren's selection. He takes Katrina to another room for sex, but the Dampener's control fades. In her fury, Katrina reveals to Jonathan and Andrew that she is Warren's ex-girlfriend — shocking the two (with Andrew telling him that's "messed up"). Katrina goes on to tell the Trio that what they were planning to do to her constitutes rape. As Jonathan and Andrew start to realize the severity of their actions, Katrina announces her plans on going to the police, so she goes on to leave the basement. Before she reaches the door, Warren hits her on the back of her head with a bottle. Katrina falls to the stairs, dead. Warren formulates a plan to get rid of the body that will also take Buffy out of the picture, though Andrew and Jonathan are not eager to take part of this.

At the Bronze, Buffy and Willow talk about Willow's recovery while watching Xander and Anya dance jubilantly together. Willow joins the couple on the dance floor, but Buffy wanders up to the balcony. Spike soon joins her. Hidden away, Spike and Buffy have sex while he speculates on how her friends would react to the truth about the two of them. Buffy closes her eyes at the thought, but Spike tells her to open them, to watch her friends while she gets away with it right under their noses. He urges her to remain in the shadows with him.

The next day, Willow and Xander are on their way to the Magic Box, when they meet Tara, leaving the shop with a book. Willow and Tara talk about the magic book Tara holds, and about Willow's success with staying away from magic. They part ways.

That night, Buffy is supposed to be on patrol, but she finds herself in front of Spike's crypt instead. He senses her arrival, but when he opens the door, she has already bolted. As she resumes her patrolling duties, Buffy hears a woman screaming and follows the sound. She is soon disoriented as time seems to jump between the crying woman, an attack by several demons, and Spike finding Buffy in the woods. In the end, Buffy strikes out at something and instead of hitting one of the demons, she hits the woman: Katrina. Her body rolls down the hill as Buffy rushes behind trying to catch her. When Buffy finally does catch up, she realizes that Katrina is dead and assumes that the blow she dealt killed her.

Behind a tree, another Katrina watches. Spike escorts Buffy away from the scene and back to her house. Warren is pleased with the success of their scheme. The Katrina double returns to the van and shifts appearance to reveal a Jonathan.

That same night, Buffy dreams of Spike joining her and comforting her in her bed. Her dream shifts and they're in his crypt with her on top and Spike bound by the handcuffs. With Buffy still on top, Spike becomes Katrina and the crypt becomes the woods. Her dream shifts again and Buffy lowers a stake to Spike's chest. When Spike becomes Katrina again, Buffy asks her: "Do you trust me?" Katrina's now cloudy eyes open wide as the stake is shoved into her chest.

Shaken by her dream, Buffy wakes and dresses and then goes to Dawn's room. She professes her love to her sister and then admits that she was involved in an incident earlier that night and that she has to go to the police about it. Dawn is alarmed at the possibility of losing her sister and lashes out, accusing Buffy of running away and deserting her loved ones.

Spike catches Buffy outside the police station and tries to stand in the way of her turning herself in to the police. He says that he took care of the body, but then two cops passing by reveal that the body was found washed up by the river. Despite this, Spike is still determined to stop her from admitting guilt. He tells Buffy that, having saved thousands of lives, she shouldn't have to pay for accidentally taking one. As Spike vamps out and attempts to physically restrain her from going to the police, Buffy takes out her anger on Spike, and he does not retaliate, saying that she should "put it all on him." She punches Spike repeatedly in the face, declaring that he is evil and soulless, that there is "nothing good or clean" in him, that he's dead inside and can't feel anything real.

Buffy stops beating him, shocked by what she did, and walks dazedly away. She enters the police station and overhears that the girl in the woods was Katrina Silber, whom she now recognizes as Warren's ex-girlfriend. Immediately guessing the truth, Buffy leaves without discussing the incident with the police.

The Scooby Gang research and find that the demons Buffy encountered in the woods caused the time shifting, concluding that Katrina was dead long before Buffy even encountered her. Buffy knows Warren is connected to the incident, and this deepens her resolve to find the Trio and ensure they pay for everything they've done.

The Sunnydale police rule Katrina's death as suicide. Warren is very pleased that his plan to get rid of Katrina's body worked, with the only disappointment being that Buffy didn't actually take the fall for his crime. Warren tells his partners that she'll be taken care of when the time comes. Andrew starts to enjoy the fact that the Trio got away with murder, but Jonathan is uncomfortable as he starts to realize just how deep they've gone.

Tara reports to Buffy that her research pointed out that the spell didn't bring Buffy back "wrong"; the only effect the process of re-materializing had on Buffy was something akin to a molecular suntan. This effect didn't make Buffy more or less human, but it was just enough of a change to "fool" Spike's chip. Buffy is shocked, and asks Tara to check again. Tara assures her she's certain, so she asks Buffy what's wrong. Buffy then implies that she allows more than just an exchange of punches to happen between her and Spike. Tara is supportive, first asking Buffy if she loves Spike because if she does, it's okay, since Spike did a lot of good the previous summer, and Tara believes he truly loves Buffy. Then Tara says that it's okay if she doesn't love him. Buffy tells that it can't be okay that she had been using Spike. She pleads for something to be "wrong" with her and breaks down crying in Tara's lap, asking to not be forgiven.


  • While in the Bronze, Xander and Anya dance like they did in their apartment in "Once More, with Feeling."
  • When Buffy asked, "Is there singing? Are we singing again?", she was wondering if Sweet, the musical demon from "Once More, with Feeling," had been called again.
  • When Dawn said she was staying at Janice's house, Buffy said, "And I'm falling for that again because of the surprise lobotomy?" This is a reference to when Dawn and Janice snuck out on Halloween to go on dates with two boys who turned out to be vampires ("All the Way").
  • The situation involving Katrina and the Trio defines Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew's characters. Warren emerges as much darker and more capable of actual evil than Andrew and Jonathan. While Andrew adjusts to the idea of getting away with Katrina's murder over the course of the episode, Jonathan remains uneasy. The Trio will begin to fracture culminating in Warren and Andrew attempting to use jet packs to escape and leaving Jonathan to take the fall, in "Seeing Red."
  • When Dawn objects to Buffy's decision to turn herself in to the police, Buffy says, "Dawnie, I have to." This is the same thing she said when Dawn begged her not to sacrifice herself, in "The Gift."
  • When Buffy confronted Faith about killing the deputy mayor Faith responded by saying, "Anyway, how many people do you think we've saved by now? Thousands? And didn't you stop the world from ending? Because in my book, that puts you and me in the plus column." ("Consequences") When Buffy goes to turn herself in Spike tells her "And how many people are alive because of you? How many have you saved? One dead girl doesn't tip the scale."
  • Spike's admission of how he went back and "took care of it.," was identical to what Faith told Buffy about the death of the deputy mayor ("Consequences"). Both attempts failed and the victims were recovered from bodies of water.
  • Buffy cries to Spike: "You can't understand why this is killing me." In "Never Leave Me," Spike tells Buffy that after he got his soul he finally understands her self-loathing.
  • Faith said in "Consequences," after Buffy slapped her: "There's my girl," the same answer Spike had for Buffy's attack against him in this episode.
  • When Faith accidentally killed someone, Buffy wished (at least until Faith was later shown to have completely betrayed the Scoobies) to shield her from punishment by the civilian legal system, in stark contrast to her intention to immediately turn herself in.
  • While Buffy is punching Spike, she says: "You don't have a soul! There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real! I could never be your girl!" This is similar to when Faith and Buffy fought each other in "Who Are You?"; Faith (in Buffy's body) punched Buffy (in Faith's body), seeing herself and saying: "You're nothing! Disgusting, murderous bitch! You're nothing! You're disgusting..."
  • In the scene where Spike and Buffy are in the alley, he tells her "I love you." and she replies "No you don't." is pretty much mirroring their last moment together in "Chosen." She tells him "I love you" to which he responds "No you don't."
  • During her conversation with Tara, Willow wears the jacket she will wear as "Dark Willow" in the last three episodes of the season: "Villains," "Two to Go," and "Grave."
  • Katrina reminds Warren of the "skank bot" and "little miss nuts and bolts" who tried to choke her, in reference to April in "I Was Made to Love You." Later, at the police station, Buffy remembers meeting Katrina in the same episode.
  • Tara becomes the first of the Scoobies to find out about Spike and Buffy's sexual relationship; Willow, Xander, and Dawn will discover it in "Entropy," and Buffy will tell Giles in "Two to Go."
  • Willow has not cast a spell for 32 days up to the start of this episode, meaning this episode takes place exactly that many days after "Gone."



Organizations and titles[]




Rituals and spells[]

Death count[]

  • Katrina Silber, hit in the head with a bottle by Warren Mears.
  • Two Rwasundi demons, killed by Spike.
  • One Rwasundi demon, killed by Buffy.

Behind the scenes[]


  • Sarah Michelle Gellar explains that this was her least favorite episode of the series: "I had trouble with the [episode] where Buffy had sex with Spike on the balcony while watching their friends. I really thought that was out of character. And I didn't like what it stood for. That was the moment that I had the most problems with. Joss [Whedon] always explained [season 6] as being about your 20s, where you're not a kid anymore, but you don't know what you want to do [with your life]. He always said that I didn't understand [this season] because I've always known what I wanted to do, and I didn't have that confusion, [that] dark, depressive period. But I think the heart of the show lies in the humor of the drama. I felt like Buffy's spirit was missing."[2]
  • Writer Steven S. DeKnight says: "I totally understand why that part made [Gellar] uncomfortable... I wish that I could say it was my idea but it's something Joss Whedon had in the back of his head for a year. It just so happened that it happened in my episode." Despite Gellar's reservations, DeKnight lists this episode as his personal favorite: "Sometimes, you have an episode where everybody 'shows up'. The actors are spot on. The direction is great, the editing, the music, etc... That was just one of those episodes where everything just came together. It had humor at the beginning and then it had that great twist where [the Trio] accidentally killed Katrina and then it got dark, dark, dark, dark. We really wanted to highlight how unhappy Buffy was with herself and really show why she was mistreating Spike because she hated herself."[3]
  • Bernard Addison, who portrays the Cop #1 in this episode, also portrays the root monster in "Couplet."


  • "Dead Things" had an audience of 3.3 million households upon its original airing.[4]

Deleted scenes[]

  • This line was cut:[5]
    Xander: "According to this, they place the time of Katrina's death almost a full day before you saw her in the woods."
  • In the scene in which Buffy reveals to Tara that she has been sleeping with Spike, Buffy was scripted to lament how hard it is to lie to everyone about who she's sleeping with, and Tara responded, "Sweetie, I'm a fag. I been there."[5] Dailies leaked online reveal the lines were filmed but cut in editing.[6]

Pop culture references[]

  • Buffy mentions having posters of the New Kids on the Block in her bedroom.
  • When Andrew gets mad at Jonathan for touching his stuff, Jonathan is holding Peter Frampton's Frampton Comes Alive! album.
  • Buffy mentions David Lynch, a director known for the unorthodox, non-chronological timelines in his films.
  • Andrew and Jonathan play with lightsabers.


  • When Buffy is in the woods and first starts hearing the whispering "what did you do?", the camera quickly zooms out and a camera and set lights are visible on the left side of the screen.
  • When Buffy knocks Katrina down the hill, the cardboard she falls down the hill on is visible.


International titles[]

  • Armenian: "Մահացած իրեր" (Dead Things)
  • Czech: "Mrtvé záležitosti" (Dead Matters)
  • Finnish: "Orjatar" (Slave Girl)
  • French: "Esclave des sens" (Slave to the Senses)
  • German: "Manipulationen" (Manipulations)
  • Hungarian: "Halott ügy" (Dead Thing)
  • Italian: "La sfera magica" (The Magic Sphere)
  • Japanese: "死人たち" (Dead People)
  • Polish: "W niewoli zmysłów" (In Captivity to Senses)
  • Portuguese (Brazil): "Seres Mortos" (Dead Beings)
  • Romanian: "Lucruri moarte" (Dead Things)
  • Russian: "Мёртвые вещи" (Dead Things)
  • Spanish (Latin America): "Cosas muertas" (Dead Things)
  • Spanish (Spain): "Cosas muertas" (Dead Things)


Promotional stills[]

Behind the scenes[]



Spike: "Are we having a conversation?"
Buffy: "What? No! No... Maybe."
Spike: "Hmm."
Buffy: "What?"
Spike: "Well, isn't this usually the part where you kick me in the head and run out, virtue fluttering?"
Buffy: "That's the plan... soon as my legs start working."
Spike: "What is this to you... this thing we have?"
Buffy: "What? We don't have a... thing. We have this. That's all."
Spike: "Do you even like me?"
Buffy: "Sometimes."
Spike: "But you like what I do to you. Do you trust me?"
Buffy: "Never."
Spike: "You see... you try to be with them, but you always end up in the dark. With me. What would they think of you... if they found out... all the things you've done? If they knew... who you really were?"
Buffy: "Don't."
Spike: "Stop me. No... don't close your eyes. Look at them. That's not your world. You belong in the shadows... with me. Look at your friends... and tell me... you don't love getting away with this. Right under their noses."
Buffy: "What did you do?"
Spike: "What I had to. I went back and I took care of it. It doesn't matter now. No one will ever find her."
Cop #1: "Where'd they find her?"
Cop #2: "The river. She washed up half a mile from the cemetery."
Spike: "Oh, balls."
Buffy: "A girl is dead because of me."
Spike: "And how many people are alive because of you? How many have you saved? One dead girl doesn't tip the scale."
Buffy: "That's all it is to you, isn't it? Just another body."
Spike: "Buffy..."
Buffy: "You can't understand why this is killing me, can you?"
Spike: "Why don't you explain it? Come on. That's it. Put it on me. Put it all on me. That's my girl."
Buffy: "I am not your girl. You don't... have a soul! There is nothing good or clean in you! You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real. I could never be your girl."
Spike: "You always hurt... the one you love, pet."


  1. "the next tale." Buffy.com. Archived from the original on February 2, 2002.
  2. Jeff Jensen, "The Goodbye Girl." Entertainment Weekly, March 7, 2003.
  3. "Inside Out: An Exclusive Interview with Writer Steven S. DeKnight." CityofAngel.com, March 31, 2003. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012.
  4. "Nielsen Ratings for Buffy's Sixth Season." Nielsen Ratings for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, & Firefly. Archived from the original on July 6, 2008.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Buffy - Dead Things." BuffyWorld. Archived from the original on July 18, 2019.
  6. Ezriela, "Buffy | •• Dead Things Dailies ••." YouTube, September 3, 2021.